University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Gender and Women's Studies Collection

Page View

Graeve, Oscar (ed.) / Delineator
Vol. 119, No. 1 (July, 1931)

Batchelder, Ann
A tribute to the tools of her trade,   pp. 30-[32] PDF (1.6 MB)

Page 30

Good cooking is an art and a craft
There's more to it than putting together
good ingredients to get a good result.
There are the tools, the palette and
brushes, to be considered. To us who
love to cook, these are the bowls and
skillets, the spoons and spatulas and
stew pans that should be, each to its
purpose, skilfully used. And here we
share some of our secrets. All by
way of using the tools of our trade
D~o t hey still go rambling on dusty roads and
W HO remembers the old tin peddlers' wagons?
up the village streets, in country places far
away? I remember how bright and red and
brave they looked, when spring came round. And how
gallantly they swung along on creaking wheels, their
newly painted sides adorned with pails and pots and pans,
all shining like a coat of delightful armor in the bright
And inside! While the patient old horse ate the shrub-
bery by the gate, we would rally around the let-down
door in the end of the wagon and feast our eyes on glit-
ter;u"' 11M, M An muffin tins anl (okjc cuttcr i i
such! Why was the horse that drew these wagons always
white? And will someone tell me why the wagons were
always painted red? A pretty problem in psychology
for you here.
Well, that was a long time ago, wasn't it? And these
are newer days. But in our modern shops and spotless
kitchens the tools of our trade have lost none of their
fascination. Just as I can't help thinking back to the red
wagon days, so I choose now to pay a tribute to the inef-
fable charm that lurks in what some people think are the
homely virtues of kitchen things. These are the tools of
the trade of those who brew anO bake and fry and fashion
heaut V and satisfaction out of food.
Very necessary to have these tools
right, too. And it's well to have the best
utensil for each operation. Not so much
need for improvising, then. Frying pans,
for instance, that rest firmly and forth-
rightly on the stove, and don't wabble
around as to handle. Kettles whose
covers sit uncompromisingly in their ap-
pointed place. With what joy one reaches
for a lipped ladle of shining metal that
dips and pours without spilling. And
what a satisfying thing it is to whirl an
egg-beater that really beats something
besides a tattoo on an egg white.
Paring knives that cut infinitesimal
fragments and carving knives that cut
wafer-like slices, and bread knives that
(ut but cannot crumble the loaf-there
is real pleasure in these. And have you
thought of the spoon in its several ways?
I like a good heavy one for mixing, one
hwith a generous bowl. And for beating,
a longer handled, lighter spoon. And
then for working sauces and stirring, say,
in a double boiler, the generous kitchen
tablespoon is the one that suits me best.
Take the subject of deep fat frying. I want a heavy,
straight-sided, heat-holding and firm-seated kettle for
that. Maybe you've heard me say it's one of my favor-
ite cooking processes-this deep fat frying. And the kettle
should never, by any chance, be used for anything else.
Bowls, of course, all sizes. One cannot have too many,
I suppose bowls are the great emergency utensil. They
can be pressed into service in a pinch to carry on proc-
esses they never dreamed of.   But I believe every
kitchen should be equipped with a tool for every oper-
ation. After all, cooking is pretty important. An art and
a craft and a talent, that's what it is. Worthy of the
best and completest lay-out of kitchen things.
Have you a set of the little vegetable cutters? And a
few fancy molds? How about a decorating set, which
can be used in a hundred ways besides dotting roses over a
cake? Mine has to pipe and play for salads and pastries
and all sorts of dressings. And the little tin or glass
molds not only make pastries and puffs, but jellied salads
and small patties and timbales and individual desserts.
ALWAYS make sauces in the double boiler. And of
course I shouldn't dream of doing custards and creams
and delicate "watchful" things in any other utensil. So I
have several double boilers. The French call them Bain
Marie. A much nicer name, I think. Anyway, have a
little one and a half grown up one and a lordly deep im-
portant one, and you'll find uses for them all.
When I make pan cakes-and I want to pause here to
inquire why 'most everyone calls them "pan cakes."
They are baked on a griddle and always used to be re-
ferred to as "griddle cakes". But I imagine some of you
will be writing to tell me about pan versus griddle, so I'll
let that pass. But for-griddle cakes-I will say it-I
use a broad spatula. A thin bladed spatula. Then
there's the narrow flexible spatula that insinuates itself
under and around a fractious cup-cake and persuades it
to "come clean" as nothing else can. Others there are
that fulfill their expected functions. (Turn to page 76)
B U T E to the Tools of Her Trade

Go up to Top of Page